Hoang Phan wins ABC Young Performer of the Year

The Young Performer of the Year for 2013 is Melbourne pianist Hoang Pham. The Tait Memorial Trust are delighted that Tait Awardees, Hoang and Stefan did so well in this prestigious competition. Congratulations to you both.

Stefan Cassomenos, Andrew Kawai and Hoang Pham all performed concertos in tonight’s grand final from the Melbourne Town Hall, accompanied by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.


For the concerto round Hoang performed Tchaikovsky’s Piano Concerto No 1.

“I love Tchaikovsky and throughout competition I chose music I love,” he said shortly after performing.

“It’s always a thrill to play in with a symphony orchestra, especially in your home town.”

Hoang says he suffers from “extreme nerves” before performing but he accepts that it’s part of the job.

“It’s gotten easier over the years but not that much easier,” he laughs.

In his acceptance speech Hoang recounted first entering YPA in 2004 and not making the first round. His teacher told him that “time tells the truth about each musician,” and so he persisted.

He also thanked his girlfriend, former YPA winner and member of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, Ji Won Kim.

Pianist Stefan Cassomenos performed Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No 3.

“I feel very much at home playing concertos with orchestras,” he said after his performance.

“It’s really great music, the way it’s written for orchestra and piano,” says Stefan. “Not all concertos are like that,” he laughs, continuing to explain. “Some are written for piano as the central feature with the orchestra in the background.”

Catch up on any performances you missed via the competitor bio pages

Young Performers Awards 2013 Prizes

Best Recital Prize ($5000) – Andrew Kawai

Best Chamber Music Performance Prize ($5000) – Hoang Pham.

Best Performance of an Australian Work Prize ($5000) – Grace Clifford

Concerto Finalist Prize ($7500) – Andrew Kawai, Stefan Cassomenos

Young Performer of the Year ($25k) goes to Hoang Pham

Pianist Hoang Pham, Young Performer of the Year, 2013. Photo by Lucas Dawson

Written by ABC Classic FM


Founding Patrons of the Tait Memorial Trust

The founding Patrons of the Tait Memorial Trust were Viola, Lady Tait AM, Dame Joan Sutherland AC OM DBE, John McCallum AO CBE and Googie Withers AO CBE.

The Tait Memorial Trust was formed in 1992 by Isla Baring OAM, in memory of her father, Sir Frank Tait and his four brothers. The Tait brothers ran the biggest theatrical group in Australia; called J.C. Williamsons, often referred to as, “The Firm”.

British Pathe tribute to the death of Sir Frank Tait

Manager of the ABC, Sir Frank Tait, Marion Anderson, USA Consul, Town Hall concert, Melbourne, 1962  Part of Lady Viola Tait collection
Manager of the ABC, Sir Frank Tait, Marion Anderson, USA Consul, Town Hall concert, Melbourne, 1962
Part of Lady Viola Tait collection

They owned theatres in all states and theatres in New Zealand,, their base of operations was Her Majesty’s ( or His Majesty’s for a period ) in Melbourne,. They employed local artists and international artists such as Pavlova, Chaliapin, Melba, Danny Kaye, Gracie Fields, Laurence Olivier, Sybil Thorndike, Margot Fonteyn, Vivien Leigh, Percy Grainger and many more.


They maintained offices in London and New York to ensure that they could book the best talent to come to Australia, JC Williamson’s famously acquired the Australian performing rights from the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company for all of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas.

Dame Nellie Melba, Soprano
Dame Nellie Melba, Soprano

They put on most American musicals from Annie get your Gun to My Fair Lady. Sir Frank’s last enterprise, the crowning glory of his long career was the Sutherland-Williamson Opera Company in 1965. A company formed the previous year with no subsidy and brought opera to Australia, on tour. A true laurel in the crown of JC Williamson’s and Sir Frank Tait.

Googie Withers AO CBE & John Macallum AO CBE, Founding Patrons of the Tait Memorial Trust

Viola, Lady Tait, the widow of Sir Frank Tait, wrote, ‘A Family of Brothers’, a wonderful book and vivid account of the growth of the Tait brothers theatre business culminating in the golden days of JC Williamson’s Theatre Company and the Sutherland-Williamson Co. of 1965. Viola, Lady Tait’s zest for life was inspirational. She was a champion of new and emerging talent, adjudicating numerous scholarships and awards both in Australia and overseas. As an adjudicator for The Shell-Mobil Quest in 1950, Viola Tait was famously instrumental in launching Joan Sutherland’s career.

Lady McKell and Viola Tait at opening of the ballet, ca. 1950 1 photograph : b&w ; 20.7 x 15.2 cm. Part of Lady Viola Tait collection [picture]. 1850-1976.
Lady McKell and Viola Tait at opening of the ballet, ca. 1950 Part of Lady Viola Tait collection 1850-1976. National Library of Australia Archive

It became Sir Frank’s ambition to present Joan Sutherland to the Australian public after her international acclaim. The Sutherland Williamson Grand Opera Company opened in Melbourne in 1965 heralding her triumphant return to her homeland. It was a season never to be forgotten. Joan Sutherland sang some of the best performances of her career while on this tour. She performed in five of the eight operas along with the young Pavarotti.

In Richard Bonynge’s words:

“Sir Frank Tait has done the greatest service to Australian Theatre and to the arts of anyone we know.”

More information on the Trust history can be found on our website. www.taitmemorialtrust.org

Tait Memorial Trust website

©2013 Tait Memorial Trust • Registered charity 1042797

John Amis Award

As we prepare for John Amis’ funeral on Tuesday 20th August the idea of a legacy, a tangible way to remember John has been at the forefront of our thoughts. A life, such as his is a rare occurrence and deserves our very best efforts to remember and celebrate.
John Amis by Hoffnung 1958 edited

For the last six years of his incredible life John Amis was a Patron and an active supporter of the Tait Memorial Trust. The Chairman, Isla Baring OAM, wishes to create an Award in his name to be called the ‘John Amis Award’.

We have created a JustGiving page in the name of John Amis which is attached to the main TMT page. Any money donated via John’s page will go directly to fund this new award.

Donate with JustGiving

John Amis

Six weeks in a bank was enough for him to decide to live by and with music. Selling records and writing about them for a high-class gramophone shop, working with London Philharmonic, Symphony and Royal Philharmonic, organising concerts for Myra Hess at the National Gallery and for Michael Tippett whose secretary-dogsbody and friend he was, concert manager for Beecham, music critic for The Scotsman, organiser of the Summer School of Music with William Glock at Bryanston and Dartington for 34 years, broadcaster on radio and TV for 40, during which time he interviewed some 500 of the most famous and interesting musicians, Hindemith to Bernstein, Cage to Swann, Stravinsky to Stockhausen. He has narrated parts in Façade, Peter and the Wolf, Enoch Arden and Babar the Elephant.

John Amis speaking at the Malcolm Arnold Festival 2011

For his 70th birthday made a CD with friends Leslie Howard, Steve Race, Malcolm Arnold, Donald Swann, Jeffrey Tate and Ian Wallace. His books include an autobiography,Amiscellany, an anthology Words about Music and My Life in Music 1945 – 2000, A Photographer at the Aldeburgh Festival (Nigel Luckhurst) and Musicians on Camera(Lelia Goehr).

John Amis
John Amis

John was a very active blogger. His site John Amis online has a selection of his reviews going back to 2001. http://johnamismusic.blogspot.co.uk

The Archive of over 500 priceless interviews with the leaders of Western music and the Arts is being collected. Watch this space.

Phoebe-Celeste Humphreys, Soprano, Masters student at GSMD

Since relocating to London, young soprano Phoebe-Celeste Humphreys (22) has gone from strength to strength. Phoebe recently completed a Master of Music at The Guildhall School Of Music and Drama, London under scholarship and received a distinction in her final recital. In 2013/14 Phoebe will undergo an additional year of study at The Guildhall to complete a Masters in Performance under the tutelage of Marilyn Rees.

Phoebe-Celeste Humphreys. Soprano
Phoebe-Celeste Humphreys. Soprano

Originally from Sydney, Australia, Phoebe has been on the classical singing scene for many years having won numerous Australian competitions and prizes, including:

Winner of Operatic Aria Open Final (Woolongong 2012)

Winner of Operatic Aria (McDonalds Performing Arts Challenge 2012),

French & German Award (McDonalds Performing Arts Challenge 2012)

Winner of the prestigious Dame Joan Sutherland and Richard Bonygne Scholarship in 2009, selected by Maestro Bonynge.

Fourth prize in the National Aria Final (Australian National 2011)

In 2012, during her time at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Phoebe’s roles have included: Mimi La Boheme, Elvira L’italiana in Algeri, Polisenna Radamisto as well as Chorus Le Portrait de Manon. Externally, her roles this year include Lauretta Gianni Schicchi. Phoebe was recently invited to take part in the Young Artist program with Des Netherlandes Opera working on the role of Eve in Stockhaussen’s Montag aus Licht.

Phoebe has enjoyed a fruitful summer that included travelling to North Yorkshire with Ryedale Festival Opera covering the role of Pamina The Magic Flute followed by travelling to Wales to perform the role of Miss Wordsworth Albert Herring with Mid Wales Opera Young Artist Program.

Phoebe has also had the opportunity to sing at a number of concerts throughout the year, one highlight was to sing as soprano soloist for the LSO Song day performing Brahm’s  Ein deutsches Requiem.

Phoebe-Celeste Humphreys, Soprano
Phoebe-Celeste Humphreys, Soprano

For the upcoming academic year her aim is to focus on performing a number of recitals within London, including one focussing on the works of Australian Art Song composers, to spread the intelligence and beauty of Australian classical compositions, as well as being actively involved in all performance opportunities offered at college as well as taking part in a number of external engagements.

With the ongoing support of The Tait Memorial Trust Phoebe has been able to experience her new life as a London based singer to the fullest and looks forward to what the next year has to bring.

Isla Baring OAM, Chairman of the Tait Memorial Trust

Isla Baring OAM

Isla Baring with Jason Donovan


ISLA BARING has been awarded the Order of Australian Medal (OAM) general division for her service to the arts — supporting young Australian musicians and performing artists!

Isla Violet Baring OAM founded The Tait Memorial Trust in 1992 in memory of her father, Sir Frank Tait and his brothers, who played such an important part in the establishment of theatre and the performing arts in Australia. Isla’s mother, the singer Viola Tait, inspired her to organise a fundraising concert in support of a young Australian singer, Liane Keegan, who was newly arrived in London. It kicked off with a Christmas Concert at Australia House. The concert was a great success, became the foundation of our yearly events and Liane is now singing major roles in Berlin.

The Tait Memorial Trust has since then raised more than £150,000 to help support young Australian musicians and dancers who need financial assistance while they are studying in the U.K. The Trust offers grants for study, performance opportunities to young musicians and performing artists as well as general help in the furtherance of their careers while resident in the UK. Many of the young Artists continue to achieve world recognition and perform at the Tait’s Rush Hour concert series which regularly presents emerging and established Australian talent.

Isla lives in London and France, travels frequently to Australia and other spots around the world.

Isla Baring OAM
Isla Baring OAM